Fort McClary Kittery Maine Living History August 11-13
site of Fort McClary was originally established as a defensive position to
protect Portsmouth Harbor in 1689. The
site was expanded on and improved as a defensive installation during the F&I
War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Span-Am War, and WWI.
It is one of eleven coastal defense installations that have at one time
or another guarded the harbor entrance and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
The shipyard, opened in 1800, is the longest operating U.S. Naval
Shipyard and is the birthplace of such famous ships as the U.S.S. Ranger, the
U.S.S. Kearsage, and was the site of an overhaul of the U.S.S. Constitution.
During the Civil War fears grew that Confederate raiders might try to
harass the shipyard so the defenses were bolstered.
The Naval Yard already had a garrison of U.S. Marines but the surrounding
forts did not have permanent garrisons. During
the war various militia companies and volunteer army troops garrisoned Fort
The Kittery Artillery- Consisted of a 50-man company under the command of Captain Mark Wentworth, Dr. Captain Wentworth was forty years old at the time and had organized the Kittery Artillery in 1854. These men manned four 32 pounders that had been sent over from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Wentworth remained in command of the militia company from April-June 1861 when he received a job at the shipyard. He would later be elected Colonel of the 9 month 27th Maine Infantry. Upon the expiration of their term of service, Wentworth was elected Colonel of the 32nd Maine where he would fight in Grantís Overland Campaign and would eventually be seriously wounded at the Battle of the Crater. He then returned home to Maine and was mustered out of service where he was brevetted Brigadier General of Volunteers. The fort was also garrisoned by Company A of the Maine Coast Guards in which Vice President Hannibal Hamlin served as a cook while at Fort McClary- while serving as VP.
The Salt Boiler mess